Fluticasone | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

fluticasone, Inhalation powder

Generic Name:
Flovent Rotadisk,ARNUITY ELLIPTA,Flovent Diskus

fluticasone, Inhalation powder

All Brands

  • Flovent Rotadisk (Discontinued)
  • ARNUITY ELLIPTA
  • Flovent Diskus
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for fluticasone

Inhalation powder
1

Fluticasone is used to control asthma and prevent acute asthma attacks after the use of another drug to control and prevent these problems has not worked. 

2

This drug comes in the form of a dry powder inhaler you take by mouth. You should also have a short-acting rescue inhaler (such as albuterol) to help stop acute asthma attacks. If you need to use your rescue inhaler more often, tell your doctor.

3

Fluticasone is available as three brand-name inhalers: Arnuity Ellipta, Flovent Diskus, and Flovent HFA. It isn’t available as a generic drug. 

4

Common side effects of taking this drug include mouth and throat irritation or infection. You can reduce your risk of these problems by rinsing your mouth with water and spitting the water out after you use your inhaler.

5

In some cases, fluticasone can cause more serious side effects. These include reduced bone strength and eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Mouth and throat infections

This drug may cause infections in your mouth or throat. These are usually caused by a fungus (thrush) and can be treated with antifungal drugs. You may need to temporarily stop using fluticasone while you have the infection. You can reduce your risk of infections by rinsing your mouth with water and spitting the water out after you use your inhaler.

Asthma attacks

Fluticasone shouldn’t be used to treat asthma attacks. Only short-acting rescue inhalers, like albuterol, should be used to treat asthma attacks. If you’re taking fluticasone, you should also have a short-acting rescue inhaler.

Bone mineral density

If you take this drug for long periods of time, you may have reduced bone mineral density (a measure of the strength of your bones). If you’re at risk for this problem, your doctor may give you medications to reduce your risk for bone breaks while you take fluticasone.

Eye problems

This drug may cause cataracts, glaucoma, or increased eye (intraocular) pressure (pressure buildup that leads to glaucoma). Your doctor may monitor you for these problems while you take fluticasone.

Drug features

Fluticasone is an inhaled corticosteroid drug. It’s available as a dry powder inhaled drug. You give yourself this drug through an inhaler. Fluticasone isn’t available as a generic drug.

This drug should be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you need to take it with other medications. One of these medications should be a short-acting rescue inhaler like albuterol, which can be used for asthma attacks.

Why it's used

Fluticasone is used to prevent breathing problems, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing caused by asthma after the use of another drug to prevent and control these problems has not worked. 

How it works

Fluticasone belongs to a class of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

More Details

How it works

Fluticasone belongs to a class of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Fluticasone works by decreasing swelling and irritation in your airways. This allows you to breathe easier.

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SECTION 2 of 4

fluticasone Side Effects

Inhalation powder

More common side effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of fluticasone include:

  • respitory tract and sinus infection

  • throat irritation and infection

  • stuffy nose

  • nausea and vomiting

  • stomach discomfort

  • fever

  • cough

  • bronchitis

  • headache

  • toothache

  • flu

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

    • swelling of your face, eyes, lips, tongue, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
    • trouble breathing or swallowing
    • skin rash
  • Asthma attacks. Symptoms can include:

    • chest tightness
    • wheezing
    • shortness of breath
  • Increased pressure in your eyes (glaucoma) or cataracts. Symptoms can include:

    • eye pain
    • blurred vision
    • bright circles (halos) around lights or objects
  • Being unable to make enough steroids to stay healthy (adrenal insufficiency). You’re more likely to develop this if you’ve recently been on oral steroids and switched to fluticasone. Symptoms can include:

    • stomach discomfort
    • weakness
    • fast heart rate
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

A common side effect after using fluticasone inhalers is throat irritation. You can reduce your risk by rinsing your mouth with water and spitting it out after you use your inhaler.

Fluticasone does not cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

fluticasone May Interact with Other Medications

Inhalation powder

Fluticasone can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs

Certain HIV drugs can increase the levels of fluticasone in your body. This can raise your risk of side effects from fluticasone.

These drugs include:

  • atazanavir
  • indinavir
  • nelfinavir
  • ritonavir
  • saquinavir

Antibiotics

Certain antibiotics can increase the levels of fluticasone in your body. This can raise your risk of side effects from fluticasone. 

These drugs include:

  • clarithromycin
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • telithromycin

Other drugs

Other drugs can increase the levels of fluticasone in your body. This can raise your risk of side effects from fluticasone.

These drugs include:

  • conivaptan
  • nefazodone

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with liver disease

If you have liver disease, normal doses of fluticasone may cause high levels of the drug in your body. This can cause side effects. If you have liver disease and take this drug, your doctor may monitor you more often for side effects.

People with lactose allergies

Arnuity Ellipta and Flovent Diskus both contain lactose. If you are allergic to milk, you might be at risk for having a severe allergic reaction if you use these brand-name drugs.

People with cardiovascular disease

If you have heart failure, you may be at a higher risk of high blood pressure or fluid buildup (edema). Your doctor may prescribe a lowered dose or have you use a different drug.

People with diabetes

If you have diabetes your blood sugar levels may rise. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your diabetes medication if your blood sugar levels become too high.

People with a history of seizures

If you have a history of seizures, you may be at higher risk of seizures when you take fluticasone. Your doctor will monitor your seizure activity and may stop this medication if you begin to have seizures.

Pregnant women

Fluticasone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Woman who are breast-feeding

Fluticasone may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of some drugs, including fluticasone. This increases your risk of side effects.

For children

The brand-name drug Flovent Diskus shouldn’t be used in children younger than 4 years old.

The brand-name drug Arnuity Ellipta shouldn’t be used in children younger than 12 years old.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if your asthma symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest congestion, aren’t getting better or become worse.

Fluticasone and other inhaled steroid drugs are meant to control your asthma and prevent you from having asthma attacks. Tell your doctor if you have asthma attacks more often or need to use your rescue inhaler, such as albuterol, more often.

Allergies

Fluticasone can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include: 

  • swelling of your face, eyes, lips, tongue, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • skin rash 

Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Fluticasone inhalers contain lactose in the powder. If you have a milk allergy, you shouldn’t use fluticasone inhalers. Doing so may cause a severe allergic reaction.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take fluticasone (Dosage)

Inhalation powder

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on: 

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Maintenance treatment of asthma

Brand: Flovent Diskus

Form: Dry powder inhaler
Strengths:
  • 50 micrograms per inhalation
  • 100 micrograms per inhalation
  • 150 micrograms per inhalation

Brand: Flovent HFA

Form: Dry powder inhaler
Strengths:
  • 44 micrograms per inhalation
  • 110 micrograms per inhalation
  • 220 micrograms per inhalation

Brand: Arnuity Ellipta

Form: Dry powder inhaler
Strengths:
  • 100 micrograms per inhalation
  • 200 micrograms per inhalation
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Your dose is based on which drug you used before fluticasone to control your asthma.
  • Flovent Diskus:
    • The usual dosage range is 100–500 micrograms per inhalation, taken twice per day.
    • The maximum daily dosage range is 1,000–2,000 micrograms per day.
  • Flovent HFA:
    • The usual dosage range is 88–440 micrograms per inhalation, taken twice per day.
    • The maximum daily dosage range is 880–1,760 micrograms per day.
  • Arnuity Ellipta:
    • The usual dosage range is 100–200 micrograms per day, taken in one inhalation.
    • The maximum daily dose is 200 micrograms, taken once per day.
Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)
  • Your dose is based on which drug you used before fluticasone to control your asthma.
  • Flovent Diskus:
    • The usual dosage range is 100–500 micrograms per inhalation, taken twice per day.
    • The maximum daily dosage range is 1,000–2,000 micrograms per day.
  • Flovent HFA:
    • The usual dosage range is 88–440 micrograms per inhalation, taken twice per day.
    • The maximum daily dosage range is 880–1,760 micrograms per day.
  • Arnuity Ellipta:
    • The usual dosage range is 100–200 micrograms per day, taken in one inhalation.
    • The maximum daily dose is 200 micrograms, taken once per day.
Child dosage (ages 4–11 years)
  • Flovent Diskus:
    • The usual starting dose is 50 micrograms per inhalation, taken twice per day.
    • Your child’s doctor may increase the dose to a maximum of 100 micrograms, taken twice per day.
  • Flovent HFA:
    • The usual starting dose is 88 micrograms per inhalation, taken twice per day. This is the maximum amount that should be used.
  • Arnuity Ellipta: This brand of fluticasone shouldn’t be used in children younger than 12 years old.
Child dosage (ages 0–3 years)

Fluticasone shouldn’t be used in children younger than 4 years old.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Fluticasone comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all

Your asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and chest congestion, won’t improve and may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of taking too much fluticasone include:

  • upper respiratory tract infection or inflammation
  • headache
  • throat irritation
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, cough and chest congestion, will get better. You also may have fewer asthma attacks. You may not need to use your short-acting rescue inhaler, such as albuterol, as often.

Fluticasone is used for both short-term and long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking fluticasone

Store fluticasone at room temperature

Keep it from 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). Keep it away from high temperatures.

Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Your healthcare provider will show you how to use your inhaler correctly. Don’t open the blister packs containing fluticasone. The blister packs should be punctured using the inhaler as explained in its instructions. 

Your healthcare provider may ask you to purchase and use a peak flow meter. This device monitors your lung function at home.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor should monitor certain health issues while you take this drug. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs): Your doctor will check your PFTs to see how well fluticasone is controlling your asthma. During this test, you’ll blow into a large tube connected to a spirometer. The spirometer measures how much air your lungs can hold and how fast you can blow the air out of your lungs. 
  • Bone mineral density (BMD): Your doctor may check your bone mineral density to see if this drug is affecting the thickness of your bones. This is done with a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, similar to having x-rays done.
  • Eye pressure: Your doctor may check your intraocular pressure (IOP) to see if this drug is affecting your eyes. This is done through a procedure called tonometry, which screens for the eye disease glaucoma.
  • Effects on growth: Children and adolescents treated with fluticasone should be monitored for their growth rate. Inhaled steroids may reduce your child’s growth rate. However, many studies show that these reductions in height are likely very small. 

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your asthma. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on November 10, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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